mother

Roots

Before finishing my college degree, I have had some pit stops along the race. Two semesters, a total of one school year that I chose to let go and pass. It was a sound decision I made to ease some financial stretch for the family. My elder brother was due to graduate of his degree in one year after I started my college. We both attended the same university.

I didn’t take a leave of absence at my university. I didn’t even notify my business course department. Freshman as I was, the innocence of running aground with my course department leave past me. New friends, new environment was a battle ground for me. None of my high school classmates more so friends decided to study at the university much take the same business course.

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The first semester that I stopped was the second half of my freshman year. I told Mother that I am taking the back seat to give way to our elder brother. The expenses were evident and instant so it would be difficult to sustain our every day living as students if both of us were attending.

I was seventeen years old. I thought of working part-time and still attend college even for a limited units of subjects. Mother discounted the idea of it. She iterated that I might not finish my degree and my tendencies to never come back home. I knew of her saying this again when I stopped for one semester during my junior year. Discoursing my thoughts with her to consider and change her saying no went up one time.

Still it was a no for her. After hearing her stern, calm voice I let my wings down. I was thinking what really made her to say no. After, I thought maybe it has something to do with me saying once while in an emotionally vulnerable state that, “I don’t want to stay in this house, in this place anymore.

This house, this place I was referring to is our home, our hometown. The home, the hometown where we grew up and continue to live until today.

Detaching and separating myself from this place sometimes pass the back of my mind up to this day. But I just can’t. Mama fuels, inspires our dreams. Mama is home.

 

 

Indelible Memory: My Mother’s Life Tales

My mother’s thinking have matured beyond her at such a young age. That’s what I think, based on stories of her growing up in a big family. I would hear her whenever she injects some wisdom on us during some talks about life concerns that our minds too need some growing up. Need some maturing. Not the body alone. This I would always hear inside my head playing when I am faced with doing a decision.

The first time I heard her saying this, I don’t understand her. I couldn’t fathom what she really meant. But now I would like to believe that I am making it up to her when it comes to this maturation. Still there are things that need figuring out and I am on it.

She indeed imprinted on us, her brood, wise words that whether we like it or not will tick on us. It has stuck on us.

 

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She had an early scratch of life’s challenges with her being the eldest child. Hard work and helping her parents put food on the table were constant reminders of what she thinks about getting ahead and making dreams come true. She was a working student all throughout her scholarly life. Holding on to graduating from college on time because she was just relying to a relative she’s working for to pay her schooling.

When she finally passed her license exam for teachers, all her hard work and sacrifices, she knew that it was the testament of a better life altogether for her and her family. Being a young professional, a newbie on the education system, she had her experiences of new sacrifices and hard work that came with her profession. She was near thirty when she passed her license. She spent her early practice teaching in some far-flung town of our province. Distant from family and limited to her co-teachers as her company, she endured the place for quite some time though faced with the hurdle of longing of family and the hardship of that poverty-stricken town. She has gotten to a point of taking the easy exit and never to return again to that place but she went on. Eventually, she got a move on a post back to her hometown.

Settling to family life was never a rush for her. Before she chose to marry and have her own family, she wanted to ground herself to a job that will sustain her family. Independent as she is she made sure of that it will happen and it did. She made it. She married on her early thirties and had my eldest brother a year after her marriage. She had me three years later. And two more brothers came after me.

She told me that I was conceived in between miscarriages. She was not having difficult pregnancies with us four boys. But those miscarriages were their shot at trying to have a girl in the brood. So the three years gap between the four of us were not really as they planned as it is.

 

Last Mother’s Day, I greeted her. No card just like I used to do when I was younger. No written post on social media and even a blog post like what I would want to. But I cooked her early that night a creamy tuna pesto pasta. While I set the table for the two of us, my 3rd brother hasn’t come home yet, I kidded her that this is her Mother’s Day cake. She silently sat opposite me and as if she never heard what I just said. No reaction at all. I looked at her and shrugged my shoulder. Just so, I sat and forked some pasta on my plate after her.

mom and iThese bits of her life’s tales were what I asked her while we were having that dinner. She’ll segues some interesting reactions about anything but in my mind I was creating this thoughts of writing more about her. I was having this fear that I may forget eventually some of her stories. That’s it, another fear I realized, oblivion. Dragging her into oblivion. Inasmuch, I want to write her because I want her thoughts, her words to be remembered early as today while she is having the time of her retirement life and enjoying our company, her children and the rest of the family.

To good health and more Mother’s Day to spend with you.

 

My love to you, Mama, always.

 

 

Okay. Thanks. Bye.

I started writing this as the sun rises. I heard from my little bro that this 22nd’s going to be the shortest day for us here in PH. Daylight is short. Long is the night then. Well I can get to bed early and read through Kerouac’s but I doubt if I can.

This I am thankful to have woken up and get the first light of another day on my skin and just be alive. Breathing. I will pray again to keep me breathing as the day passes and that I wake up everyday. Repeat.

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Breathing and living in the company of my mother and my brothers is more than enough to remind me that life is vast and can be a vacuum. Having a family, a loving and supportive family is reassuring. When you are flooded with the world’s batshit it is them that you retreat and run to. Their company fills you with sense of belonging when you don’t want to care about any else in your way. I am blessed to have Mama. I am blessed to have my brothers. We have endured times we would never expect we could but we did. The strength of our love for each other stretches for miles. We have our own ways of letting each other know of that warm feeling.

I am just happy to know too that we as brothers are dreaming together. Sharing visions of what and where might future holds on us still we all stay together even distance may come between and when home is not physical but in our hearts. I say this because we will have our own lives and may want to try the world and our home will be different in the most sense.

Sure is Mama will forever be our home. I thank God for gifting her life and more of it. Her life as a retiree seem pleasant and she is quite enjoying it. She’s just restless around the house. A life different when she was still working as a teacher thus staying longer at home is something she needs to grow into. I think she’s quietly having at war with for some time. I also feel that patience and continuous respect must be accorded to her on this phase.

A never-ending chat has become this worm that keeps inching into every corner of my internet life. Yes, there is now that internet life for me. A life though that is not totally on-the-wire dependent. That I am thankful for the internet. My best-friend C and I could sometimes spend most of our internet time having conversations over sort of messengers of just about anything. The life of internet has grown in us positively especially with blogging—read: thank you my readers and followers—and so too with the rest of our mutual dear friends.

I also like spending time with my friends in a real coffee shop or pub. It is rather a trend now between us. Of meeting over coffee. Of course those constant thoughtful conversations thrown at each other are present while letting the hours pass, forgetting some stress and just having moments of fun of togetherness.

The gift of friendship in us is riveting. I will be forever grateful for having to find them, my dear friends that I continue to spend time with and show love in ways I can. Distance, work may have come between us and most of them started building their own families but still there is that communication sticking us, bridging us of each others’ lives and the going ons. We’ve also become to-go company of each others be it unexpected or planned. Potluck dinner has also been our thing when a week of holiday off comes. Dividing our time in-between our own families just to make it happen.

It is so great having them as my dear friends.

With me praying in gratitude for having a family and few dear friends that steadies me, on the other side of the road I am lacking a career. This is on me and the decisions I make. I am at war with myself on these. Trying is a big word for me. I can’t accept to myself that I’ve really tried. I admit to not really putting myself out there. My lame excuses doesn’t count for an excuse. A grown man who I am should not be under anyone’s support but only on my own blood and sweat. Honestly, I am lucky to have this family and I can’t thank them enough for just being there.

I am thankful for this life. That’s all. I will find my own way to give back to them for the unconditional love they’ve showered me all this time while I am wallowing in my screwed up bubble.

I am pulling my curtains down now for this year. Thank you very much.

 

My Heart Goes To You

Mama would talk and tell a story of her childhood and young adult experiences whenever me and my brothers would impose some inconveniences around the house and how to get those around and settle all other sort of stuff. Her storytelling part is both entertaining and rich with life lessons based on her first hand experiences. I imagine that shared moment with her being parental and just taking the time to hear us out. Her tone changes to soft and caring. Subtle joys and smiles can be felt too as she continues to speak. She doesn’t animate much. She just speaks on and on and it affects me.

This lengthy story rich conversation often happens when we are caught in the middle of the dining table, almost finished with our dinners, about to step out to bring our dishes to the sink and then, bam, blackout!

Without TV and computer to wane our frustration over the blackout, we would huddle ourselves into our small living area and continue to talk about anything. Mama would then get her storytelling from where she has left off or if there’s one thing that catches her while the rest of us talk she’ll make sure to complement that. Expect for sure now that she’ll inject another line of wisdom and thoughtful rich speech about life in general.

mom and iShe often tells how tough it was while she’s growing up. Having a father that’s a  farmer and a mother that’s an entrepreneur in her own right raising all seven of them was really a challenge. Being the eldest child she became her mother’s handmaiden when it comes to household chores, babysitting her younger siblings and even going to the town’s market to sell some of the produce from the farm. She recounts how she would wake up early in the morning and walk taking the dirty clothes to a nearby stream to be laundered before going to school that same morning.

These snippets of life experiences that Mama would impart on us is a testament that she dreamed of a quality, more so a convenient life for us compared to her. She pointed that on why she really worked her way to finish college even while working. She sacrificed being away from family to render services at a household of her aunt. Sending herself to college was the only way she sees to help her parents and siblings get by and improve their living condition if she graduates with a degree. Soon enough, she became a teacher.

My heart goes to you, Mama. You’re such a toughie. Happy Birthday! I love you very much.

Mama, How’s the Weather There?

Posing this question is my way and my mother’s in filling out our text messages to a length before sending to each other. I find it funny and annoying at times. I sometimes reevaluate my train of thoughts on how to better start a conversation with her. Within close distance at home, we would never start with this one for sure.

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Over breakfast, we would talk about chores and then it stretches to the likes of home improvements, renovations and dream houses and green lawns.

As of now we are limited to calls and texts to hear, read each other’s voices and messages. It would be two months, few days short today, that I am away from my her. I am taking some risks again by being back in the metro for a job I can stick with. A job I can grow myself to financial stability. Career goals, this year.

Last week, I called her. I asked her, how is she and the dreaded line, how’s the weather there? She answered happily. She said, she is alright, feeling fine and the weather has been tolerable. Hot and humid.

The dry season is still at hand and El Niño continue to intensify though isolated thunderstorms started to bring rains all over the country now. How that sounds of me as a weather man? Our conversation over phone could sometimes last for nearly an hour. Every 7 minutes our line would be cut-off by the network’s unlimited call promo. Read: ridiculous. I’m a prepaid mobile user, the cheapest way to communicate round here so I just have to suck it in.

Subjects on money and allowances, my brother E, food I eat, laundry, places I have been to the past days, what I been up to with my job applications, status of my living condition in my ex-apartment, and some other personal stuff—these are what our conversations would cover in an hour—of me to her and vice versa.

I can’t walk fast anymore. I walk at a pace slower than you all. I can’t take long flight of stairs.

 

So how’s the weather really? I would question her again on that and she would insert her laundry—how she started soaking the whites and dumping the colored in the washing machine. Her voice outbursts annoyingly when there is no electric power in our hometown. A power crisis is looming in the electric cooperative of our district. I feel sad for her when she tells me she missed watching her afternoon past time soaps and also she is tired fanning herself when it becomes too hot.

Asking her on how’s the weather there is my lifeline and my assurance of home. Mama is home. She have had hypertension attacks two years ago with dehydration. The heat is one of the factors that triggers hers. She has lifetime medicines to take for it. Not to heal but to counter future attacks. With these, she obliged to watching her diet and keep away from stress.

She is not getting any younger. I contend to seeing her in good health always. I pray for it everyday. I am at peace knowing she is living her life: enjoying moments of tranquil, sometimes solitude and away from worries as a retiree. I told her in the past that I want to share travels with her. Her answer comes in few seconds late. I don’t know but I hope she’s still willing to. I get to sense that she worries about us being her company.

She once said that, “I can’t walk fast anymore. I walk at a pace slower than you all. I can’t take long flight of stairs.” I answered, “Ma, that’s why God blessed you with four boys, all of us are more than enough to carry you around, walk with you slowly, and hold your hand for your balance.”

Ma, if the weather’s fine then we’ll all shoot for the moon.

Missing you.